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The Curse of the Lost Swing

By benmasongolf, Jun 4 2017 06:39PM

Recently I have had the opportunity to play in a number of pro ams. This has given me the opportunity to watch how some of the amateurs I Coach play on the golf course.

Over the past few months coaching I have had golfers coming to me and saying how they hit a bad shot that costs them a few strokes and subsequently "lose" their swing. They then spend time in my studio hitting respectable shot after respectable shot, the occasional great one and the occasional poor one thrown in.

We then spend some time looking at the pattern of their shots and get down to trying to improve the golfers patterns somewhat. Often the golfer will say to me "Well I haven't hit the bad one that costs me while I've been here with you but as soon as I hit it I just lose my swing". So we will spend some time discussing the shot they hit and possible causes.

So having played in the recent pro ams it has become very evident to me that golfers don't lose their swing after one bad shot. THEY START TRYING DIFFERENT ONES.

Does this sound familiar to you. 7 or 8 holes in a row hitting a succession of good shots and a good round is well under way. Then all of a sudden you hit an awful shot. Perhaps a big hook out of bounds or a slice into the trees and the ball gets lost. What starts going through your mind? I could hazard a guess that it's things like 'what did I do wrong there?, how can I hit that shot when I've been hitting it so well?' Or even 'I can't believe how bad a swing I made there when I've been swinging it so well.' Your playing partners might even have seen a reason why you hit that awful shot. They come up with reasons such as "You swing too fast" or "You came over that one". You spend the rest or the round trying to find this swing that you suddenly lost.

I'm now going to let you into a little secret. It's highly likely that mechanically you made the same swing that you have been making on the previous holes. "But how come my golf ball has gone in such a different direction to what it has previously been going?" you might ask. Well my guess is it is because the club face at impact was aiming slightly differently or perhaps it was a miss hit. Or even the way the tee makers were pointing wasn't down the centre of the fairway like they were on the previous holes.

What happens after this poor shot is golfers start searching for reasons for a poor shot but unfortunately start in the wrong place. They start checking their backswing, analysing the amount of shoulder turn they are making, trying to move their weight through the ball in a different way. When all they actually need to do is shrug their shoulders, say I didn't quite get that one right and keep doing what had been successful previously for the rest of the round.

I believe a lot of these "lost swings" during a round stem from golf coverage on television and the endless analysis of golf swing especially after a poor shot. I was recently watching the golf coverage from an event on the PGA Tour and Jordan Speith who hits a draw as his normal shot pattern was playing a hole with water down the left hand side. The shot tracer showed the ball start down the left hand side of the fairway and curve to the left and make a huge splash in the lake that ran down the side of the hole. A horrible destructive costly shot yes. Then the analysis started. The slow motion swing of Jordan Speith's pull hook commenced. "He came right over the top of that one" the analyst exclaimed. To me the swing looked very much the same at the previous slow motion swing that produced a lovely fairway splitting high draw but the ball set off further left which tells me he just got the club face a bit more closed than normal. No swing mechanics to worry about fixing, just a human skill level that wasn't as high as the previous shot.

I can also recall how over recent years the golf swing of Tiger Woods has been picked apart by analysts and often the height he loses during his downswing is the reason for the back shot he just hit. It's interesting watching the golf swing of Tiger Woods during his untouchable years, he also lost the same amount of height during his downswing and that was never picked up on.

So back to my original point. Golfers don't suddenly just lose their swing after one bad shot. It's highflying likely the bad shot was not caused by a bad swing. It likely came about because we are all human and can't get the micro movements of our club face position correct every time, especially when swinging the golf club at high speed. So next time you hit a shot on the golf course that comes out of nowhere don't start taking your swing apart trying to find out what was wrong. Accept that you are a human being and you can't be perfect 100% of the time and keep doing what you were doing previously that was producing those great shots. You may may hit a poor one again during the round but you continue to keep hitting good ones as well.

Jun 4 2017 08:18PM by Doug Patterson

Very sound advice and from our time together advice I absolutely believe. That's not to say I always follow it and I do still self-analysis from time to time but at least I can now recognise when I hit it out of the hosel or just use my arms (at least some of the time) ��

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